Discuss the paralells between Hedda Gabbler by Ibsen to A Simple Heart by Flaubert?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the strongest parallels between both works is that each work centers on the life of a female protagonist.  The centerpiece of a woman's life becomes the focus of each story.  Through this, one recognizes the challenges and difficulties that women have to endure, some of them being distinct from what men have to address in their being.  Yet, outside of this, I really see both narrative diverging.  Hedda is a character who is multi- dimensional in her psyche and approach to consciousness.  She is both "victim and victimizer," operating out of a neurotic condition that both covets and wants and yet is not entirely certain of what she wants.  This is not the condition that Flaubert has constructed for Felicite.  She is one whose love, in "a simple heart," transcends the condition of the world around her.  She is one who does not seek manipulation of others for self benefit.  While she is victimized by the trappings of others, she never victimizes in response.  Felicite is of the mindset that her faith is where her focus lies.  While Hedda seems hopelessly bound to the contingencies of this life, Felicite operates on a more transcendent and meaningful level.  Whereas Hedda seeks and yearns to want more out of this life, Felicite's name fits her as she is quite content with where she is and what she wants.  In this, there is a stark difference in the characterization of each female protagonist.